City employees have not yet started working on the jigsaw puzzle question of which streets will be repaired in 2021, with help from the money infusion Hamilton will receive from the street-repair levy voters approved this spring.
That’s because they’ve been busy managing paving and street repairs that will happen this year. But they’re eager to delve during coming weeks into decisions about which streets will be paved in 2021, said Rich Engle, the city’s director of engineering.
“I think we have a very good staff here that’s anxious to get started, and prove to the residents that they made the right decision,” Engle said.
City residents through Aug. 7 voted on the streets they most would like to see paved in 2021, and the results are in. Some 1,270 residents gave input from all 17 neighborhoods. The 3.9-mill levy will generate about $3.1 million a year, or $31 million across the decade.
As a bonus, officials already were planning to pave part of the street that received the most votes — not next year, but this year, Engle said.
“Some of the streets are already on our paving list, for instance Grand Boulevard (the top vote-getter),” he said. “That will be done yet this year, between 11th Street and the railroad tracks.”
Also, workers also will do some milling and paving several blocks eastward from there, “just to try and smooth that out,” Engle said. “It won’t be a complete resurfacing, but at least we’ll try and address some of the rough spots that currently exist.”
Here were the top vote-getters for streets residents wanted to see paved:
- Grand Blvd., 390 votes;
- Tylersville Road, 110;
- Sanders Drive, 93;
- NW Washington Blvd., 89;
- Cleveland Ave. 78;
- Corwin Ave., 76;
- Park Ave., 73;
- Eaton Ave., 54;
- Campbell Drive, 47;
- Springvale Drive, 46.
Also, Tylersville Road, the No. 2 vote-getter, “is going to be a major reconstruction project,” Engle said. “We’re trying to get that scheduled for next year.”
On the No. 3 street, Sanders Drive, the city likely will soon apply for an Ohio Public Works Commission for a grant to pay for a combined water-main replacement and paving project that also would help Leo Drive. Sanders has “really poor water main” that needs to be replaced before the street is resurfaced, Engle said.
Although the voting is closed for 2021 paving input, residents are still invited to continue giving their input about streets that need paving. They can do so at www.hamilton-oh.gov/streetslevy or by leaving a voicemail at 513-785-7155.
In deciding which streets will be paved in 2021, staff will juggle many considerations along with residents’ votes. For example, because it can cost significant money to transport the enormous paving machinery, it is less expensive to pave streets that are close to each other. Also, as with the Sanders Drive situation, the city does not want to waste money paving a street that soon will need utility work that will tear into a newly repaired roadway.
Officials as part of the levy campaign promised that over the course of the 10-year street levy, each of the city’s 17 neighborhoods will receive an amount of paving equal to its percentage of streets in the city. That cannot happen every year, they said, but will be the case over the decade.
City spokesman Brandon Saurber said that by January, the city will issue a Streets Levy annual report, explaining why each of the selected 2021 streets was chosen.
“Not all neighborhoods will see paving projects next year,” Saurber said. “Paving projects are often clustered in order to save on mobilization costs.”